Cruise Ship Injuries

If you are injured or suffer an illness as a cruise ship passenger, you could have grounds for a compensation claim. Cruise ships have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of passengers while they are on board and on organised excursions.

Our Vancouver personal injury lawyers can advise you of your rights and help you through the claims process. You need to act quickly. Cruise ships claims are subject to strict deadlines.

Can you claim compensation for cruise ship injuries?

When you buy a cruise ship ticket, the fine print usually includes a clause that says the carrier is not responsible for any personal injury, illness or death. But this liability waiver is not absolute. The cruise line still has a legal duty to protect the health and safety of their passengers. This is set out in an international treaty called the Athens Convention.

The Athens Convention states that the carrier is liable for damage or loss suffered by a passenger if the incident occurred due to the fault or neglect of the carrier. So, if a passenger falls down the stairs because a wet floor was not mopped and signposted, the carrier could be at fault. But if a passenger falls down the stairs because they didn’t tie their shoelaces, the carrier cannot be to blame.

Common injuries suffered on cruise ships

Injuries and illnesses on cruise ships happen more often than you might think. Common reasons for a cruise ship injury claim include:

Food poisoning

Preparing food for thousands of passengers every day can easily lead to mistakes. Food may be left out, cross-contaminated, undercooked or past its best before date. This can result in a mass outbreak of food poisoning.

Infectious diseases

Passengers on board a cruise ships are in close quarters, so when an infectious disease breaks out, it tends to spread quickly. Outbreaks of Covid-19 and the norovirus on cruise ships have all made the news in recent years.

Slips and trips

There are lots of slip and trip hazards on a cruise ship. Examples include wet floors around the swimming pool, frayed carpets, spillages, poorly lit/maintained staircases, loose wires and ropes. The cruise line has a duty to minimise these risks at best as possible, and to signpost any hazards that cannot be eradicated completely.


Passengers have been known to fall over the railings onto a lower deck, or even overboard. These accidents are often catastrophic, especially if the cruise ship does not have the necessary equipment to search for a person at sea. Passengers may also fall down stairwells or lose their balance due to poor turbulence protocols.


Not all cruise ships have lifeguards supervising the pool and water slide areas. This has resulted in passengers – often children – suffering harm on board. Drowning may also occur if someone falls overboard and the crew are unable to save them in time.

Fire damage

Fires are a real risk on board cruise ships, particularly in the engine room. Fires can of course cause horrific burns and other injuries. They can also cause a lot of damage to personal possessions if the fire is not contained and quickly extinguished.

Injuries on excursions and activities

Cruise ships often organise excursions and activities for passengers during the course of their vacation. The cruise line is responsible for ensuring the safety of passengers at all times, even if they are on land participating in a day trip.

Major disaster

Major maritime disasters are not resigned to the history books. Just think of the Costa Concordia, which sunk off the coast of Italy in 2012. If you or your loved one was on board a cruise ship when it ran aground, capsized, sank or crashed, you need expert legal representation.

Vancouver cruise ship accident claims

Cruise ships depart from Vancouver during the summer months on a daily basis. If you are injured while on board one of these cruise ships, or you fall ill because of the cruise line’s negligence, contact us at John Mickelson Law Corporation.

The laws relating to cruise ship injury claims are complex. The cruise ship ticket may try to limit where you can make a claim to a particular city. This can create confusion as to what country, or even what province/state, you can file a lawsuit in.

On top of these complications, an accident or illness that happens at sea is governed by different sets of laws, including Maritime Law and international conventions. That’s why it’s absolutely essential to have an expert on your side.

Our lawyers can advise you of your rights, helping you understand if you have grounds for a compensation claim, and where to file. If we are able to represent you, we will manage the claims process, demanding the maximum amount of compensation on your behalf.


To start a cruise ship injury claim, contact us at John Mickelson Law Corporation.


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